Governments, organizations, businesses and individuals around the world collect data for making decisions, evaluating status and priorities, tracking progress, predicting future activities and for scientific research purposes. As the complexity and volume of data increase, technological advances increasingly focus on simplifying the collection of these data. However, care must be taken so that these simplification measures empower stakeholders to gain insight from data and do not result in inaccurate interpretations by researchers and decision makers.
The practicing statistician plays a unique and crucial role in scientific research and data science. They must delve deeply into the area of application and learn the terminology to understand and translate the conversations and questions into operational terms for statistical solution. It is the statistician who becomes the conduit into insightful understanding of risk and consequent inferential interpretation of the analytical results.
According to the ASA Section on Statistical Consulting, “Statistical consulting is the most challenging and most rewarding part of statistics. A consultant uses the art and science of statistics to solve a practical problem”. It is essential that statisticians continue to develop both the technical knowledge and collaborative skills to best assist and educate their collaborators and clients, yet, few resources for practicing statisticians exist.
This Special Issue on Statistical Consulting and Collaboration is intended to provide a forum for applied statisticians and data scientists to continue to learn from each other through implementations of cutting-edge methodology and examples of innovative problem solving, how to structure and assess successful collaborations, and, through evidence-based approaches, to develop skills as practicing statisticians. With this special issue the editors intend to provide insight into the entire Collaborative Process by including articles from experienced statistical consultants and collaborators. These authors have developed expertise in a) individual or group statistical consulting; b) organizing the structure of a consulting group; c) selecting and evaluating clients; d) joining an interdisciplinary study, or, e) successfully taking a study from initial contact to publication in a wide range of areas of application.
The authors’ papers are divided into three sections: Structuring and Assessing Collaborations, Skills for Statistical Consulting and Collaboration and Innovative Applications of Statistical Techniques. The latter section presents creative approaches used for emerging problems in applied statistics. Papers in this section highlight the crucial part the statistician plays in the Collaborative Process and the advances that were made possible by the use of standard statistical techniques in innovative ways. General approaches to specific problems are described, which have clear adaptation potential to similar problems in other fields.
In summary, this special issue will provide the reader with an overview of some of the real world experiences of consulting and collaborative statisticians and serve as a guide to important characteristics necessary for success.
Co-Editors Robyn L. Ball, Helen Zhang, H. Dean Johnson, Lee-Ann C. Hayak, Joe Rigdon, and Maggie Niu
Structuring and Assessing Collaborations
Skills for Statistical Consulting and Collaboration
Emily H. Griffith, Julia L. Sharp, William C. Bridges, Bruce A. Craig, Kathryn J. Hanford, John R. Stevens (2022). The academic collaborative statistician: Research, training and evaluation (Open Access)